The Matriarch Tree | Teen Ink

The Matriarch Tree

August 2, 2022
By ENikki SILVER, Germantown, Maryland
ENikki SILVER, Germantown, Maryland
8 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Favorite Quote:
Let answers find you.

The screen stood in front of me, glowing its artificial light into my eyes. My eyelids blinked rigorously, stretching out the muscles supporting them. My chocolate irises flick over to the clock ticking at the bottom right, reading “5:30pm”. Looking at my schedule, I see a History assignment and a reminder to study for l’interro. After that was done, all I could think about was “I hate math.”

I sighed and brought my fingers to my eyes, rubbing the pains away. Sadly, such a tactic resulted in no change; having been fed up with my assignments, my eyes turned up to look at the balcony door. Finally, I pressed my laptop shut.

Grabbing a cardigan, I walked out the door with barely combed curly brown hair and shuffled down the apartment stairs. Just as I was about to reach the exit, however, a sudden, violent burst of screams sent shockwaves through my shambling form. As I regained my composure, I glared in the distance to see younger boys laughing and swearing, the neighborhood monkeys screeching whatever tripe their underdeveloped minds could think of. And they would only multiply, I bet, after more houses are built.

“For the love of…” I grumbled bitterly, “Not today.”

In the building, there was a hallway that led to both the parking lot and the management grounds, each on opposite sides of my home. 

Exhausted from maintaining emotional discipline, I finally released a growl from my chest. “What I wouldn’t give for those morons to shut up.”

 So, I closed my eyes and walked over to the other side.

There’s something special about this other side. Well, it’s special to me; I don’t particularly care much what you think of it. But what brings a smile to my face is a royal court standing eagerly in the middle of the field. There’s a special person in the garden.

Known as the Tree. 

As a member of the tallest plant type, she towers above the rest with a height of about twelve feet high (or more, I’m not sure). She is certainly over twenty years old, and she’s been standing patiently in the same spot for all the time, watching life unfold without a sweat. But, best of all, she’s got a voluminous curtain of clean, green leaves that hang over you. For all her majesty, she is (in the end) a modest and reserved piece of life. She’s surrounded by a court of pink flowers basking in her radiance; however, she has a personal little following of small, multicolored followers that she covers with her leaves. The most patient altruist, she provides a safe and intimate space for all who seek it. Including me.

As my foot makes contact with the path leading to her, my small smile fades. As time suddenly slows, as the rush of busy life subsides, I find my now-sober self wondering why I don’t visit her. I suppose it’s the little yellow terrorists in her kingdom that whiz about, guarding the court and seeking to harm those who so much as look at them the wrong way. Maybe, though, I’ve just been accustomed to the other side for the abundant space it provides.

After making sure no insects were flying about, I gently seated myself on the bench and smiled sheepishly at the Tree. 

“Hey there.”

I mumble a few little words before shutting my mouth. I didn’t have to; the Tree just listens, never judges. I could say the most ridiculous thing in the world and she wouldn’t be bothered. Maybe she didn’t care what I had to say, maybe she didn’t love me as much as I loved her. But even so, I feel no resentment. The Tree, a plant with no human emotion, is not callous or cold.

She graced me with her presence when I first moved here, just two years of age. The land was less crowded, nature was dominating the suburbs.

“Just want to say ‘thanks’, by the way. For being here. And for not having any bees around.”

The clock on my phone ticked. With every passing minute, my timer reminded me there was work to be done. Psh, work, I thought, Just something society made up.

I looked up at her again. Once restrained tears pooled around in my eyes. “I hope you don’t leave. I’m not ready.” 

Having expelled enough stress out of my system, I finally wiped my reddened eyes, bid her goodbye, and slowly walked back to my work.

The author's comments:

A time before I've made peace with loneliness and grit.

Come down to meet Miss Ashmore Tree in Ashmore, Germantown!

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